Integrating INCLUSION – the KEY to real change

Business man holding a group of worker icons and an exponential growth trend graph in the open palm of his left hand. Concept for multi-ethnic teamwork service solution and motivation management.

What people issues are keeping your CEO awake at night?

CEO’s have a lot on their plates! I’m sure yours does. But do you know what’s keeping your CEO awake at night?

  • Political instability?
  • Terrorism?
  • Investor perceptions?
  • Business performance?

Developing the next generation of leaders and attracting and retaining top talent was the front runner in the recent research conducted by DDI/ The Conference Board and EY, Global Leadership Forecast 2018.


Because CEO’s are concerned as to whether their organisation has the right bench strength to tackle the complexities of our current world of business – it is complex and disruptive and not all leaders are cut out for it. That’s is the truth.

Yet each year, organisations are investing millions into leadership development (estimated at over $50 billion annually) – so what’s going wrong?

In the research, only 41% of leaders believed their leadership development program to be of high or very high quality. Whilst many organisations have leadership development programs – few assess the impact of those programs. This drives me crazy!

AND only 35% of HR professionals rated their organisations bench strength – the supply of talent to fill critical leadership roles over the next 3 years – at any level of success.

They felt that only 43% of positions could currently be filled by an internal candidate. This level of confidence was highest in Mexico, with ASEAN second:

What was most concerning was that only 37% felt their succession management system and processes were not very effective.

I have worked with thousands of leaders and their teams over the last 13 years. Here are some of the reasons (from my observation) that organisations lack the bench strength they require:

  • Talent processes are typically very subjective and dependent on individual managers view of an individual’s performance. Yet managers, with all the best intentions will judge performance with a filtered lens – based on how THEY would perform and the chemistry they feel with an individual. Hence there is much hidden talent in organisations that will never become visible.
  • Ingroups and outgroups still dominate in most organisations. Success and visibility is not about what you know – but who you know.
  • Organisations rarely hold leaders accountable for developing their bench strength. At the end of the day it takes a rare and confident leader to push a tribe member forward at his/ her own potential expense. It’s a ‘me’ culture for most leaders.
  • Same old is perceived as safer and most organisations are very risk averse. Hence, they keep promoting and hiring leaders with the same backgrounds, styles and skill-sets as the ones before. There is very little consideration to changing things up – although lip service is paid to this. We see broader candidate slates, but at the end of the day ‘I hire the best person for the job’. There is little acknowledgement that this definition of ‘merit is subjective’ and very much based on ‘same old’.

All of these observations are the hallmarks of what I would call a ‘performance culture’ – which is favoured by many organisations – and therein lies the problem.

Maybe it’s time to take a different approach?

Shifting habits is HARD.

Shifting the habits of leadership to a more inclusive approach is HARD WORK. Sending people to one off leadership events won’t get them there. It requires an approach which really embeds new habits and then keeps leaders accountable for living those new habits every day.

One approach that starts to tick lots of boxes.

At a time when we need greater leadership bench strength AND we have significant traditional diversity and inclusion ‘fatigue’ – I suggest we crash it all together. Instead of having separate strategies focused on diversity and others on leadership, and myriad of other things – how about one approach that starts to tick all of the boxes. Wouldn’t that be way less confusing for leaders?

Leaders want to get there. 

There is no doubt that assessing the ROI of leadership development is hard. We have developed a process which requires leaders to report on their ACTIONS – so we can start to assess the impact of the leadership development program. It’s not an exact science – but it’s a measure that focusses on accountability and bottom line impact – as opposed to just ‘numbers of individuals who have completed the training!


As you can see from this information, there is a clear need to focus on developing an inclusive and enabling culture which up-skills and drives talent from within, further retaining and securing the bench strength of the origination for the future. We implement a broad model which fosters such an approach, focusing on both PUSH and PULL factors in order to obtain the best possible outcome for an origination and its people.

This broader focus enables us to shift leader and organisational thinking from the traditional ‘frenetic’ diversity activity mindset –  to a broader focus on inclusion. This focus, from our perspective, enables organisations to connect with and impact multiple different people focuses across the organisation with one core approach – inclusion – the overarching and enabling factor to not just diversity, but all other big ticket items for your organisations people strategy including engagement, collaboration, innovation, psychological safety etc. etc.

If you would like to connect and discuss this information and what taking a broader, bigger picture view could look like in the D&I space we would love to hear from you. We are obsessed with getting results and are constantly striving to increase our ROI in everything we do!

  1. Submit a contact form here!
  2. Visit the website here!
  3. Give us a call on: 1800 306 698


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